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Sexual assault center leads community awards


By Michael Stavola Posted Nov 16, 2017 at 8:36 PM

Updated Nov 29, 2017 at 1:26 PM

Donna Davis has wanted to raise awareness of the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center since she took over as executive director last year.

First, she had to learn about the organization. That’s how hidden she said it is in Hutchinson.

“I am pretty plugged in here in the community, and I didn’t know about us,” Davis said. “It got me thinking how many people don’t know.”

Davis decided the group needed a rebrand. The community, Davis figured, would support the cause if they just knew how close to home sexual assault and domestic violence victims were.

But that costs money. The organization applied for a grant through the Hutchinson Community Foundation. And on Thursday, after carefully sliding the $25,000 check out of SADVC board president Mark Thompson’s hand, Davis had what she needed.

“I’m thrilled,” she said.

The $25,000 check was presented during the Hutchinson Community Foundation’s 2017 Fund for Hutchinson event at the Cosmosphere. In all, 26 organizations received roughly $242,034 during this year’s event.

SADVC’s was the largest grant awarded this year.

ABOUT THE HCF FUND

Started in 1990, the HCF Fund for Hutchinson has raised more than $3.3 million for more than 170 organizations from donations and interest from an endowment for projects that impact the community

Sarah Blake, the HCF philanthropic services associate, said the grant committee agreed it is a cause that needed attention.

“The (SADVC) wants to get the message out there in a way that is helpful and most effective to people but also to be clear in the services they provide,” Blake said.

The $25,000 is already being spent. A victim’s testimonial video, a new website and logo will be part of the services by BowerComm. Davis estimated the marketing company’s work would take six to eight months and will include a new name.

Since 1976, Davis said the nonprofit has gone by several names: Coalition Against Spousal Abuse, Rape Hotline and Victims of Abuse Network.

The new name, she said, needs to be more subtle but still convey the nonprofit’s goal:

“We have a vision in the agency of a community that is free from sexual assault and domestic violence, and this grant is the first step in getting there,” Davis told a room of about 150 people.

One in three women and one in four men have been a victim of physical violence by an intimate partner, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Funding for the nonprofit is made up of roughly 80 percent state and federal grants and about 20 percent from local donations, Davis said. She believes the rebrand will give the SADVC better community recognition, which, in turn, will lead to a more stable 20 percent.

Most of the nonprofit’s budget is for staffing. Davis said the nonprofit has nine full-time and 10 part-time employees. The rest goes toward running an eight room, 15-bed emergency shelter and keeping a 24/7 Crisis Hotline (1-800-701-3630).

The SADVC is part of the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence and serves Reno, Rice, Kingman and Harper counties.

“If I am passionate about something I don’t mind asking people for help,” Davis said.

The retired USD 308 assistant superintendent said the HCF money would allow changes, so more people in the Hutchinson area know where to turn for help.

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